Updating Legacy IT Systems While Mitigating Risks: 10 Best Practices

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-03-19 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It's clearly a software-based world. Managing and updating of all those apps—not to mention the back-end systems—can be a monumental challenge. With so many new application choices now available for both on-premises and cloud distributions, IT folks at all types of enterprises are finding that they need to allocate more time to handle new installations, updates, performance management and security upgrades. Every modernization effort includes a measure of risk to the system and therefore to the business. Success with a new or upgraded app depends on careful consideration of each option and process, along with the relative risks and unanticipated costs involved. Don't forget the chore of correctly transitioning end users to new processes and routines. This eWEEK slide show, provided with primary industry knowledge from Faircom, which makes a high-performance NoSQL database and a line of data management tools, will take you through different options along with associated benefits and risks.

 
 
 
  • Updating Legacy IT Systems While Mitigating Risks: 10 Best Practices

    By Chris Preimesberger
    Updating Legacy IT Systems While Mitigating Risks: 10 Best Practices
  • The Traditional Big Bang Data Migration Strategy

    One approach to modernizing legacy applications is to install a new-gen replacement and move the entire dataset from the legacy system to the new solution in one operation—often completed over a weekend or holiday break—a process frequently called a Big Bang data migration. So on Friday business users would be using the legacy system, but when they come to the office on Monday morning, they'll be switched to the new system. Ideally, this is a seamless exercise for the business, and employees have no problem transitioning to the new system.
    The Traditional Big Bang Data Migration Strategy
  • Mitigation Risk for Big Bang Data Migration Strategy

    Few data migrations are seamless. Import fields do not necessarily align, data can be corrupted during the transfer, and new systems may not read data the same way as the original application did. If the new system cannot be brought into production soon enough, the entire business may need to shut down as well, which is a step that could threaten the entire operation—not to mention the career of the IT executive in charge of leading the project.
    Mitigation Risk for Big Bang Data Migration Strategy
  • Mitigating the Big Bang Data Migration Risk

    To reduce this risk, a lot of companies use a parallel run-type migration strategy, which enables their old system and new system to operate in tandem. This approach may require employees to double-key the data into the legacy system, so that target and legacy environments are synchronized. With this approach, it is critical for the deployment team to reserve the time needed to perform testing, while leaving in place the option of a rollback strategy—in case the deployment runs into hiccups—to ensure that business operations can continue.
    Mitigating the Big Bang Data Migration Risk
  • The Iterative or Phased Hardware Migration

    Particularly in cases where aging hardware is a problem, it is possible to lighten the load on the hardware by offloading the data to a storage device or a server, while leaving the legacy applications in place on the original hardware.
    The Iterative or Phased Hardware Migration
  • Migration Risk for Iterative or Phased Hardware Migration

    This approach is a short-term solution only, until a full migration can be completed.
    Migration Risk for Iterative or Phased Hardware Migration
  • Mitigating the Risk for Iterative or Phased Hardware Migration

    By reducing the processing load on the hardware, and increasing storage capacity, the team can buy breathing room—in some cases up to two years—which allows the IT team to plan a final migration. Therefore, a phased migration approach serves primarily as a stopgap until a final modernization approach is selected.
    Mitigating the Risk for Iterative or Phased Hardware Migration
  • Using a New, Platform-Agnostic Environment: Java

    Java's platform-agnostic qualities have made it an attractive environment for legacy software modernization projects for more than a decade. The process begins by using compilers that work in the COBOL or Fortran environment but deliver output in Java code. Several software vendors offer this capability. Using this approach, it is possible to replace the core application component with a Java component in the same environment. Then the Java component can be installed on new-gen hardware; once it is installed, a process can be implemented to transfer data and new components to the new hardware platform, or even move the deployment to a virtualized or cloud environment.
    Using a New, Platform-Agnostic Environment: Java
  • Migration Risk for Java's Platform-Agnostic Environment

    With such a big migration comes the risk of issues associated with environments not working well and keeping data consistent while in the midst of implementation of modernization.
    Migration Risk for Java's Platform-Agnostic Environment
  • Mitigating the Risk for Java's Platform-Agnostic Environment

    This approach can be completed in phases, which limits the risks from any migration issues to the latest migration phase. During this phased migration, the actual data is shared by both Java and original COBOL components, which provides an escape route to return to the old platform if necessary. This phased approach also opens the possibility of migrating data and applications first to a server or virtualized environment, and ultimately migrating to a private or public cloud.
    Mitigating the Risk for Java's Platform-Agnostic Environment
  • Key Takeaways From This Presentation

    Regardless of which option you choose, modernization projects are rarely seamless, due to the involvement of a high degree of complexity, a factor that is frequently underestimated. So be sure to be ready for anything as you migrate to a system that is essential for operations in the 21st century.
    Key Takeaways From This Presentation
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 

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